Networking science.

The Swiss Young Academy networks young researchers from a wide range of scientific disciplines and creates an inspiring environment for inter- and transdisciplinary exchange and innovative ideas. Its members are the representatives of Swiss science in the national and international context and are regarded as the young voice of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences.

Who Gets Heard? Selecting Scientific Experts in Swiss Legislative Processes

How does science get heard in the legislative process? How are scientific experts selected? How to ensure that interdisciplinary perspectives are incorporated? These are the questions that Swiss Young Academy members Silvia Maier, Odile Ammann, Darius Farman and Servan Grüninger will be exploring in 2021.

The background of the project consists in findings that political scientists such as Dieter Freiburghaus revealed in previous case studies. Scientific experts are typically involved in two phases of the legislative process: in the first phase, i.e. at the problem definition stage, and at the end, in the implementation phase, when the solution does not appear to be satisfactory. However, in the second phase, when solutions are being developed and discussed, the voice of science seems to be heard less often.

 

In the first phase of the project, the interdisciplinary project group of the Swiss Young Academy will focus on parliamentary committees and parliamentary groups (‘Fraktionen’). The project members will examine how both political actors select and hold hearings with scientific experts, and they will identify the main challenges that arise in this context. The goal of the project team is to assess the transparency, representativeness, and equality of access of the expert selection process, as well as possible obstacles and solutions for considering expertise from a variety of scientific disciplines.

 

At the end of the project, the members will publish a synthesis of their findings in a white paper that will be made available to a broader audience via a blog post, and that will be shared on social media. The project will be rounded off by an event in which the members will present their findings to relevant stakeholders as well as to the network of the Swiss Young Academy.

Current status May 2021 - launch of survey

The project examines how academics are selected and interviewed by parliamentary commissions and political groups. It sheds light on the most important challenges in this process. Based on the results, concrete ideal scenarios will be developed that show how future generations from different scientific fields can convey decision-relevant knowledge and the current state of research to parliamentary commissions and parliamentary groups.
 
The subject area commissions "Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy" (UREK), "Social Security and Health" (SGK) and "Science, Education and Culture" (WBK) will be surveyed. An important perspective is also provided by the survey of the executives of all parliamentary groups.
 
The project is supported in particular by Prof. Marcel Tanner, President of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences and Director Emeritus of the Swiss TPH, Dr. Peter Bieri, Member of the Swiss Council of States for the CVP from 1995-2015, President of TA-Swiss and Vice-President of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, and Prof. Barbara Haering, President of the Board of Directors of econcept AG, President of the Conseil d'Orientation Stratégique of the University of Geneva, Vice-President of the ETH Board and Member of the National Council from 1990-2007.
 
The surveys will start in May 2021.

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Project group

Darius Farman

Servan Grüninger